Guest Post: What is it like being a Taiwanese in China?

I’m more than thrilled to share my first guest post on my blog written by my husband, Dawen. He shares his personal experiences as a Taiwanese man living in China. You can find his blog over here.

img_20130408_103454When I visited China for the very first time, the very first uncomfortable situation I encountered was at the airport. When I was going through the airport immigration, there were 2 lines for me to choose, one for foreign nationals, the other for Chinese nationals. For a person who was born and raised in Taiwan and lived in the United States for almost 20 years, my first instinct was going towards the line for the foreign nationals, but shockingly, the police was yelling “Visitors from Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan should go to the line for Chinese nationals.” I was like, what?! I am a Chinese now even though I had never set a foot on Chinese soil before?!

During my stay in China, what I saw and heard about Taiwan were Taiwan is a part of China and is currently under Beijing’s control. The ruling government in Taiwan and the flag I am familiar with are not recognized by the Beijing government. Basically, Taiwan’s status in China is like Hong Kong or Macau. Hong Kong and Macau both were forced to be leased to Great Britain and Portugal back in Qing Dynasty when Qing government lost the war. Under British and Portuguese rules, Hong Kong and Macau were not treated as independent sovereignties but colonies. However, Taiwan’s situation is totally different. When Chiang Kai Shek lost the civil war against the Chinese Communist Party and retreated to Taiwan in 1949, Taiwan has been ruling under Chiang Kai Shek in the original name of The Republic of China or ROC. Meanwhile, the Communist Party’s leader Mao Ze Dong declared the new establishment of The People’s Republic of China or PRC. Since then, Taiwan has been separated from China. Chinese Communist government has never controlled the government led by Chiang Kai Shek in Taiwan. Taiwan has been self-governed, has its own government, passport, flag, and military. Taiwan was not and has not been ruled under any foreign country, so how come the government in Beijing wants to treat Taiwan like Hong Kong and Macau and refuses to recognize the reality that the Republic of China still exists in Taiwan till this very day? So, I am always frustrated to hear the Chinese government asking Japan to respect the history and not to deny its role in WWII but in the mean time choose to ignore the reality that Taiwan is not under the PRC’s rule and is not a part of PRC.

So, being a Taiwanese in China, one thing I have to realize is that I am no longer a Taiwanese but a Chinese, not only ethnicity wise but nationality. One thing intrigues me the most is that I am called a Chinese citizen in China but not eligible to enjoy the social security or the government provided medical insurance. Why? According to the Chinese authority’s explanation, it’s because I am a Taiwanese national.


Side note: Not only it happens to Taiwanese people, but sometimes even for Singaporeans. For an example: One of my husband’s collegues  was talking to him in English when other collegues who were Chinese Nationals bitched at her for not speaking Mandarin Chinese because she is of Chinese ethnicity. The Singaporean snapped back, “I am from Singapore..English is our official language!”


  1. What’s ironic is Chinese textbooks actually praise the American Revolution, and yet their government is thinking like George III.This obsession about overseas Han Chinese is putting ethnic minorities in a weird position as well. Foreigners of Han Chinese descent get more attention than those state recognized 56 ethnic groups.


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